4/17 Dave’s Testimony: Roller Coaster… Easter Joys in Fighting Cancer

I find it interesting that my husband has been diagnosed with rare stage four cancer; and it’s all happening before Easter, my favorite time of year. It’s a time of new beginnings: when beautiful irises come into bloom, when Dave and our boys have played electric and acoustic guitar and drums in the church worship band with friends, when our family gathers to color eggs and be silly and laugh together. Good things should be happening… and it sounds crazy, but they are. “For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations” (Is. 61:11).

Dave said this same thing today, “It’s interesting that the timing is Easter…”He mentioned how he loves playing guitar at church on Easter. I’d already written that down. But he also said more things that had been swirling around in my head, such as; “… but it doesn’t mean I want to do this.” Who would? He’s suffering… BIG TIME. Not only is he getting ready to fight stage four rare intestinal cancer; he had to first undergo a major surgery to repair his intestine. The surgery has delayed the chemo he desperately needs, because he has to heal first. The pain he’s endured has been unbelievably excruciating.

Dave Pelleman on electric guitar, on an Easter Sunday.

And there’s more… details we have together decided to share, because we want to be honest about the fact that though we are leaning on strength through Jesus; this is exactly the opposite of easy. It’s painful, stressful, heartbreaking, and downright frightening. Our lives have been turned upside-down.

In addition to the rare Signet Ring Aderocarcinoma, Dave had to undergo major stomach surgery to repair his intestine. It was supposed to be a bypass, but his oncologist surgeon said the tumor was smaller than it looked on scan (Hmm.. we’d already had a lot of prayers going up!) so the surgeon was able to remove it, and repair the intestine. Yay! But… then he found the cancer had spread onto Dave’s appendix which was attached to other organs, and into the upper colon. It was too dangerous to remove these masses; otherwise the cancer, or an infection could spread, causing Dave to go septic.

What this means, is that he now has Ileostomy bag. This is similar to a colostomy bag, but is attached to the intestines, rather than the colon. My heart sunk into my stomach when the surgeon told me this. I felt nauseous with an overwhelming sadness for my husband. It was the last resort. Dave knew it was a possibility, and had accepted it. But still… losing a normal body function we all take for granted, is life-changing. As Dave said, “It’s losing a life function, which was the life function that resulted in the cancer in the first place.” The irony. In addition, Dave also currently has a valve in his stomach to release the build up of matter his body can’t rid itself of on its own, along with a chemo port implanted into his upper chest. How much can one person take? “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body” (2 Cor. 4: 8-10 NIV).

God tenderly holds us, gentle flowers, in the palms of His hands.

We’ve chosen to share these details, because they illustrate the magnitude of Dave’s pain and suffering; yet, still Dave asks for God’s will to be done. He’s not Jesus, and has no claims to be anywhere near his likeness. But Jesus lives within Dave’s heart, so he shines through him. Dave chooses to follow in his footsteps; wherever they may take him. Jesus didn’t want to suffer either, yet submitted to the will of God: “ ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done’ “ (Lk. 22: 42 NIV).

We also hope that by sharing some details, we can bring hope and comfort to others struggling and surviving in similar situations. We want people to know they can have peace and joy through pain and suffering, by leaning on strength through Jesus. We also continue to ask for prayers for miraculous healing for Dave, according to God’s will. “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed” (Isa. 53:5 KJV).

There’s been despair, anxiety, anger, guilt, fear, and the feeling of being overwhelmed; but, in Jesus’ name, we can renounce these lies which come from the enemy. There have been stages of grief, yet we can find strength through Jesus by giving him our burden. For Jesus said, “ ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light’ “ (Mt. 11: 28-30 NIV).

This means Jesus will carry us through it all. Jesus is about new life. He can heal us to the point we’re able to adjust to a new way of life. We can go to him with our pain, suffering, and fear: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isa. 41: 10 NIV).

Our lives have been a roller coaster, with joyful ups, as well as painful downs. When Dave was first diagnosed, two of my favorite, trusted friends stepped up and took my daughter to have fun for an entire weekend. They also brought food, so I could visit Dave at the hospital without stress. One set up a meal plan and scheduled it all the way through June! The other took my daughter overnight, and speaking of roller coasters; we were touched when she and her husband treated Abby to Spring Break at Busch Gardens and Jamestown! It was pure relief to know my daughter could experience some joyful fun with dear friends who treat her like family!

Photo courtesy: Monica O’Hara

Jesus went through a roller coaster of emotions, as well. He was treated badly many times, but was also received well; sought after, believed, and greatly loved. It was up and down, up and down, then finally (literally) UP! On Palm Sunday people were rejoicing, following Jesus, and declaring him King of the Jews! Then suddenly in less than a week, Jesus was suffering in agony, dying on the cross. Imagine the despair and grief, as people lost their good and perfect Savior, family member, and dearest friend. But, Jesus arose from the dead. He lived! And he still lives today!

Throughout Dave’s cancer diagnosis, we are already seeing the beginnings of miracles he said were going to come. Relationships are being restored and renewed. Forgiveness covers hurt and misunderstandings from years gone by, and it’s been made a crucial priority for our loved ones to see each other. Dave’s mother is coming to help, along with three amazing aunts, who have also been lifelines for my emotions. Best friends, longtime friends, and new friends; have been caring for us and feeding us. Two of Dave’s sisters and a best friend; all cancer survivors or with a family member who survived cancer, quickly sent big boxes of fun items, along with gift cards, on exactly the days we needed it most. Dave’s boss has been incredible, walking with us each step of the way, offering job benefits and the assurance that Dave can just focus on rest and recovery. Dave’s best friends, coworkers, and acquaintances have been here for him. My closest friends have been here for me anytime I need to talk or text, and often when I didn’t even realize I needed it. Comfort, peace, and joy! My sister talked with me deep into the night, let me say anything and everything I wanted, and she understood. She just gets me.

We have more family members, dear friends, and neighbors blessing us with meals (and homemade sugar cookies!) play dates, gifts, flowers, restaurant cards; and messages and calls filled with love, verses, and prayers of encouragement. I started to write down these beautiful people’s names, but Dave and I decided not to. We didn’t want to leave anyone out, because every single person, and every single thing has been so timely and meaningful. We also wanted to give the ultimate praise to God for bringing everyone to our rescue! We are humbled, grateful, and overwhelmed (in the good way!) with all the love pouring down upon us. There are now a vast amount of people across the world, praying for a miracle healing for Dave, according to God’s will. Thank you to everyone who has prayed for us, supported us, and shared Dave’s testimony posts. People with cancer are finding it and being encouraged. We couldn’t stay above water without you, dear ones, being the hands and feet of Jesus! “Above all, love each other deeply, for love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Pet. 4:8 NIV).

Easter flowers sent from Texas, by a longtime dearest friend!

I’d say our lives have taken a turn and we’re living in “hell on earth,” but I can’t do that. Because, we know that our forever home is eternally in Heaven. If this life on earth was all there was, how depressing it would be. But our hope lies in Jesus Christ, because we have received him into our hearts, and asked him to forgive all our past, present, and future sins. The silver lining is that we’re ultimately headed for an amazing, other worldly place! “ ‘Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house there are many mansions. And if not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will receive you to Myself, that where I am, you may be also. And you know the way to the place I am going.’ “ (Jn. 14:1-4 BLB).

Cancer spreads, and it’s very bad. But the love is Jesus is stronger. It spreads farther and faster. Dave and I want to cover, and overcome his cancer, with the love of Jesus. Please share Dave’s Testimony posts with others, so they can see: From bad to good, it all ends up very, very, very good with Jesus. It ends in Victory! It’s all about Jesus! From Good Friday’s suffering… “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8 NIV)!… all the way to Easter Sunday… Jesus has risen! He has risen, indeed! “He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.” ‘ “ (Lk. 24: 6-7 NIV).

Dave’s our favorite superhero: Strength through Jesus!

Happy Easter! Dave had a few short visits with brothers and sisters in Christ this week. As he gets stronger, he’ll have more. My daughter and I made it to an egg hunt on a sunny Saturday, as our men at home watched a movie together. We’ve colored eggs as a family. We’re having TV church with David Jeremiah, Easter basket for our daughter, and then our usual Easter meal celebration. Our neighbor provided the meal by grocery shopping for us; then surprising us by saying, “Groceries are on us… Happy Easter!” Thank you, God for all good things, in Jesus’ name!“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (1 Th. 5: 18 NLT).

Happy Easter to All!

Jesus died for you! Receive his gift of eternal life, today!

“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved” (Rm. 10: 9-10 NIV).

Angela and Dave: Easter a few years ago.

You can visit The Silver Lining at angelaslittleattic.com,or find it through Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/angelaslittleattic/. You can also visit The Silver Lining on Instagram at instagram.com/angelaslittleattic.

Related posts:

How to Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive Eternal life!

(Intro:) 4/10 Dave’s Testimony: My Husband has Deadky Cancer… Palm Sunday Miracles

4/13 Dave’s Testimony: Coming Home… Chemo for Christ

4/21 Prayers Weave a Greater Web than Cancer… Chemo Time

5/5 Dave’s Testimony: God Gave Us Premature Miracle Twins 23 Years Ago… a poem

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In Christ,

Angela Royse Pelleman

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